Photo Gallery: Building a Cedar Strip Canoe

A 15-year-old adventure photographer captures the process of building a cedar strip canoe

​Xander Davenport, who spent his senior year of high school building a 16-foot cedar strip canoe.
​​At the very beginning of the canoe building project, Xander used a wooden mold to shape the cedar strips.​​
Using a draw knife to carve out the shape of the yolk.​​
The newly varnished outside of the canoe.​​
​​Xander uses a spoke shave to smooth down the front and rear parts of the canoe.​​
​​The front of the canoe, ready to be varnished.
Using a varnish on the inside of the canoe.​​
Getting the canoe ready for a second layer of varnish.​​
The finished canoe.​

Eds Note: When 15-year-old aspiring outdoor photographer Clayton Simoncic learned his 18-year-old cousin, Xander Davenport, was building a cedar-strip canoe near Simoncic’s home in southern Maine, he decided to document the process. Simoncic stopped by the workshop over the course of a year to capture Davenport’s work and submitted this gallery to C&K. Click through the photos above and read more about the project below.

Photos and words by Clayton Simoncic


When my cousin Xander was seventeen and a senior in high school, he decided to build a sixteen-foot cedar strip canoe. Xander isn’t your normal teen. He doesn’t spend his time texting and playing video games. In fact, he didn’t even have his own phone until he went to college. Xander spends his time painting, drawing, exploring the woods and playing guitar. He has always enjoyed canoeing whether it’s on short day trips or week-long expeditions.

When Xander set his mind to building a canoe, I knew he could pull it off. He spent an entire year and over two hundred hours of work to build this incredible sixteen-foot cedar strip work of art. I was lucky enough to capture the boat’s evolution from the initial molds to the final varnish.

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Video: Making a Cedar Strip Canoe in 9 Minutes